The brutal, midseason grind of conference play is in full swing for men’s college basketball, as teams get tired, pressured, and overwrought. The result this week is a new No. 1 overall seed for our projections, which mean little in the grand scheme of the universe—but should help you understand the situation a lot better.
Remember, this is about more than just wins and losses, for not all records are created equally. Using advanced metrics, we’ve calculated this Top 16 very carefully and as objectively as possible. We take into account actual performance, offensive and defensive efficiency, road record, schedule strength, and overall team production.
Check in every Tuesday this regular season to see how we would rank and seed the top 16 teams in the country, regardless of conference, for March Madness. We had 36 teams under consideration this week.
Here we go, in order, with new teams in the rankings denoted by an asterisk (*):
- Gonzaga (25-1)
- Kansas (20-3)
- Duke (21-3)
- Baylor (22-1)
- San Diego State (24-0)
- Louisville (21-3)
- Maryland (19-4)
- Dayton (21-2)
- Michigan State (16-8)
- West Virginia (18-5)
- Seton Hall (18-5)
- Florida State (20-4)
- Texas Tech* (16-8)
- Penn State* (18-5)
- Purdue* (14-10)
- Arizona (15-6)
On the cusp: Ohio State (15-8), Auburn (21-2), Houston (19-5), Kentucky (18-5), Marquette (17-6), BYU (19-7), Colorado (19-5)
The Bulldogs are the new top team in the projections, while we have three new teams—including two from the powerful B1G—in the Top 16. Again, we have to emphasize that it’s never just about win-loss record, which is why the Associated Press poll can be ignored. You’d think the modern media would be smarter than that … but no.
Here is how we would seed these 16 teams regionally, based on the upcoming regional sites for the 2020 tournament, with the top-four seeds getting geographic advantage(s):
- Los Angeles: No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 8 Dayton, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 16 Arizona
- Indianapolis: No. 2 Kansas, No. 7 Maryland, No. 10 West Virginia, No. 15 Purdue
- New York: No. 3 Duke, No. 6 Louisville, No. 11 Seton Hall, No. 14 Penn State
- Houston: No. 4 Baylor, No. 5 San Diego State, No. 12 Florida State, No. 13 Texas Tech
We also have a shake-up situation in our projected overall winner pool. Duke and San Diego State (!) move to the top line of favorites, based on offensive and defensive efficiency balance. This is a huge predictor in picking an overall tourney champ, as we demonstrated last season. The second tier of tournament favorites right now includes Baylor, Kansas, and Michigan State.
Stay tuned every Tuesday of the season for updated projections!